III – Invest in Israel is a program that began (in a more organized and focused way) at Shabbos House in the Fall semester of 2016 thanks to the insistence, encouragement and support of a local businessman as well as support from Chabad on Campus and other national organizations to do more to educate and engage college students about Israel.
The goal is to provide a variety of educational, cultural and religious programming – investing in that connection in many forms ranging from speakers to classes, tabling and special Shabbat dinners. The key to “invest” here isn’t only financial as in Israel Bonds, JNF’s water projects or a promising Start Up, rather to invest in the hearts and minds of young people towards greater engagement, awareness & knowledge and meaningful connection.
III - 2023-2024
8/29: First Fruits – a 6 and 9pm study and discussion of a biblical Israel mitzvah with contemporary application.
10/11: “Israel Solidarity Vigil” presented by UAlbany Hillel, Shabbos House, Judaic Studies, Sigma and AEPI – 7pm at the UAlbany Small Fountain
10/13: Pre-Shabbat Mitzvot for Israel – Tefillin, candle-lighting, hors oeuvres and Israeli songs
10/17: Animals & Kibbutz Life: A petting Zoo visits for Parsha Noach + guest speakers sharing memories & impressions of life on Israeli Kibbutz.
10/20: Challah Roll Sale to benefit Kibbutz Nir Oz: Challah Sale Table at Campus Center Small Fountain on the Podium.
10/26: Volunteer Talks: UAlbany students sharing about their volunteer work in Israel: Evan B. on volunteering for Magen David Adam, Hannah S. for Israel’s Fire Brigade, Simone S. for the IDF and for Tel Quadesh archeological dig
11/4: Why I Quit Ben and Jerrys: Sat Night Ice-Cream Social, Talk and Presentation by graphic designer Susannah Levin
11/6: “Shloshim” 30-day Memorial Event for Oct 7th Victims, co-sponsored by UAlbany Hillel and UAlbany’s Judaic Studies Dept
11/9: Chumus-Making Event: Casual night of making and tasting Chumus – what’s your favorite.
11/14: UAlbany Shabbos House Chartered Bus to DC Rally for Israel:
11/20: Tefillin Challenge for Israel on the Podium: 10-minute midday rendevouz to put on Tefillin publicly and proudly in middle of campus
1/30: Israel’s “Holy-Sites” a virtual tour at Torah-Tuesday, most pictures from the IDF’s publication of a Holy Sites coffee table book.
1/31: Game Night – winners choose Israeli charities.
2/19: Story of Oct 7th Survival – Oct 7th survivor will share his story of survival and resilience, and how his friends fared on that fateful day. Hear a first-person account!
III - 2022-23
8/30: B’Lev Echad Wounded IDF Soldiers Program
a special evening. stay tuned!
III - 2021-22
Stay tuned for additional events to be planned for this coming year.
8/31: Shemitta Options Argument
A Torah-Tuesday class exploring the issues & varied opinions in how to observe the agricultural sabbatical year, a big debate in modern Israel.
9/22: Second Night in the Sukkah
For many years now, our second night in the Sukkah, students share Israel experiences and memories, inspirations and aspirations.
9/27: Our Israel-Solidarity Hakafot
Our Hakafot are the next night on Simchat Torah, but we also dance the night prior on Shmini-Atzeret in solidarity with Israel who celebrates Simchat Torah that night. Indeed, it is mutual! Many Israelies come out to dance “Hakafot Shniyot” the night after their holiday is over because that’s the night when Jews in the diaspora dance with the Torah.
10/5: “Inside Israel’s Iron Dome” with Ari Sacher
7pm at Torah-Tuesday and over Zoom, stay tuned for details of this special presentation by Ari Sacher of Rafael about this marvel of technology that saves lives and averts greater military escalation.
10/18: Paint & Sip – Rachel’s Tomb
Rachel’s Tomb is one of the most beloved holy sites in Israel (even if it is harder to get to) and its iconic yet humble structure rebuilt by Moses Montefiore in the 19th century has graced many Jewish homes. We’re having a talented local artist lead us in a “paint ‘n sip” as we sip drinks like coffee and teas, smoothies and soup.
11/5/2021: Shabbat in Tzfat
By alumni request and sponsorship, we’re bringing this theme back for a special Friday Night. Immerse yourself in this holy city in Israel’s north, filled with artists and mystics, a spiritual retreat.
2/15/22: Who was R’ Adin Steinzaltz
At Torah-Tuesday: A Glimpse into the life & many works, (even controversies) of a uniquely brilliant Israeli scholar & thinker, a prolific author, translator and teacher who passed away in 2019. His upbringing, his life’s work and accomplishments and his personal story are a slice of life of Israel.
4/5: Songs of Naomi Shemer
At Torah-Tuesday: Reading & appreciating the Hebrew lyrics of some beloved songs of one of Israel’s greatest poets & songwriters
4/6: See our tables at IsraelFest ’22 at UAlbany
Coordinated by Great Danes for Israel this will bring glimpses & tastes of Israel to the Podium, with culture, awareness and more. We’re hoping to bring a Sofer to inscribe people’s names in Hebrew scribal art, and will have either/and fresh-squeezed orange juice or “Falafel-on-a-Roll” served off of our Mitzvah-Bike. Stay tuned for more on Israel-Fest.
Stay tuned for additional Spring ’22 Israel-related programming to be posted soon…
III - 2019-20
Israel educational programs, events and awareness FALL 2019:
9/10: “The In-Between”
by Noah B. ‘19 – a Jewish Photography workshop based on unique photos he took in Israel this summer.
10/4: Israeli Sofer for Shabbat
Moshe and Ayelet Semel will share about his work as a Sofer and about life in Israel
10/17: “SPY” an episode about Israel Masterspy Eli Cohen
This event is hosted by Great Danes for Israel and AEPI with dinner and Lulav at the Shabbos House Sukkah.
10/29: Water: Biblical & Israel Now
This class explores water in biblical stories, in religious symbolism & modern Israel’s water transformation story – just in time for Torah portion of Noah & the Flood this week.
11/21: Rugelach, Football and Israel
Great Danes for Israel is hosting a chill night at Shabbos House with Rugelach making, plus big-screen football for guys on the side. Rabbi Mendel will share Rugelach-Israel messages and connections
Israel educational programs, events and awareness SPRING 2020:
1/24: Regards from Israel and Poland
UAlbany students share memories & highlights of their Israel and/or Poland trips over Winter Break 2019-2020 at the first Shabbat Dinner back.
4/28: Secular Israelis
Not as simple or black and white as you might think! This “Torah-Tuesdays” class (last of the semester) explores what American Jews can learn from this stereotypical demographic.
more being planned and in the works for Spring 2020, stay tuned!
III - 2018-19
Israel events being planned for Fall 2018 include:
9/5: Mois Navon, a pioneering engineer at Israel’s MobilEye for self-driving technology (bought out by Intel) will be speaking at UAlbany on the topic of “The Trolley Dilemma Goes Digital” on Wednesday afternoon September 5th at the UAlbany Multi-Purpose Room in the Campus Center new west wing. This event is co-sponsored by UAlbany School of Engineering, CAMERA, Great Danes for Israel, and III – Invest in Israel of Shabbos House.
9/22: Visiting Israeli Officer Trainer: Daniella, a friend of a UAlbany student shared at Shabbos lunch how she works on a team that trains all types of Israeli officers on how to use their communications equipment, even high-ranking commanders attend her courses. A short talk and discussion, an insider view!
9/24: Israel Night in the Sukkah co-sponsored by Great Danes for Israel with educational Bingo games, students sharing Israel memories and after dinner Israeli songs.
11/3: Virtual Visit to Hebron – Birthright won’t take you there, but we’ll do a virtual trip there on Shabbat Lunch of Parshat Chayei Sara (when Abraham first bought the Machpela cave to bury Sarah) going back in Jewish history, ancient and recent to discover Jewish roots and connections to Hebron. Co-sponsored by Great Danes for Israel and Stand With Us.
11/27: Supporting Israel since 1788 Colel Chabad is the oldest continuously operating Tzedakah network in Israel dating back to 1778. Learn its history as it is intertwined with mystical letters, Czarist imprisonment, Chassidic Rebbes, financial systems and more! This will be at the second to last Torah-Tues of the semester, 19th of Kislev, 5:45 and 7:45pm on November 27th.
12/4: Modern Day Maccabee on Tues, the 3rd night of Chanukah, features two wounded IDF soldiers touring the United States with B’Lev Echad to share their stories and experiences. This event is open to students and community. 7:30pm at Shabbos House. It is co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation, Great Danes for Israel, the Maimonides School, B’Lev Echad and Shabbos House’s III – Invest in Israel initiative.
3/30: “Shtisel” movie night, a viewing and discussion of the hit Netflix Israel series.
4/5: Afikoman (Dessert Bakeoff) and Zecharia Baumel OBM’s Tzitzit – at Friday Night Dinner at Shabbos House
4/6: How do Israeli Elections work? A primer over Shabbat Lunch, along with life lessons and applications. This will have to be rescheduled.
4/26: Visiting Israeli Soldiers – on what it means to celebrate the holidays (Passover) outside Israel and what is special about holidays in both Israel and in the Diaspora.
5/8: Monsters Inc and Israel – what’s the connection? A cute discussion at Midnight Breakfast.
5/10: Shabbat in Tzfat! Join us for a virtual visit over Shabbat dinner to this mystical, artsy and unique city in Israel’s north that is rich with Jewish history and modern-day experiences.
III - 2017-18
Six Day War Memories Six Day War Memories: 50 Years – As 2017 is fifty years from the Six Day War, this special program is scheduled for Monday evening September 18th, 7:30pm (two days before Rosh Hashanah). Ephy and Eitan both served together in the IDF in 1967 and will share their memories and experiences. See link for more info and list of co-sponsoring organizations.
Stay tuned for an Israel-themed holiday meal in the Sukkah. Schwarma, likely, with Israeli-trivia Bingo-Game activity led by Great Danes for Israel sponsored by CAMERA. More on that theme coming soon..
Israel-themed Fall 2017 Torah-Tuesday classes:
“Mameh Rochel” (10/31) on Rachel, her iconic tomb alongside the road in Bethlehem, Moses’ Montefiore’s monument, the moving inscription from Jeremiah, Nava Appelbaum’s wedding dress, Shwekey’s song and more…
“History of Hebron” (11/7) going all the way back to Abraham’s purchase of the burial plot for Sarah, down through the 1929 riots and massacre, the 7th Step and 1967, including monuments and holy-sites to this day: Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, Avraham Avinu Shul and Rebbetzin Menucha Rachel’s gravesite – all in the heat of the conflict.
and additional Israel programs, Shabbat-themes etc throughout the semester.
III - 2016-17
40 Years since the Rescue at Entebbe (September 2016) a large-scale communal and campus event co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation, CAMERA and ZOA, and UAlbany’s Great Danes for Israel and Capital District Chabad Centers.
“R’ Yochanon Ben Zakkai” (Torah Tuesday in November 2017) pivotal historical figure during the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, his life, colleagues and students, teachings and enactments, and his vision that extends to modern day Jewish life.
“Holy Sites” (Torah Tuesday in December 2016) a pictorial tour of historical holy burial sites in Israel (based on colorful coffee-table book by the Israel Defense Ministry) and the relevance and meaning of these people and places that are usually not on the birthright tour route.
“Mekonen” movie night (February 2017) at Shabbos House co-sponsored by Great Danes for Israel, tells the moving story and backstory of an African Israeli journey, from an Ethiopian village to the IDF.
Guest from Amona (2017) shared about Amona, a place not that different from his own home, he shared his family’s joys, fears and experiences with our students at a Shabbat Lunch.
“Crossings Seas into Israel” for the 7th Night of Passover students sharing stories of 20th century sea-crossings to Israel: The Sturma, Exodus, Altelena, Cherbourg Boats.
Israeli City Trivia (May 2017) test your knowledge using the clues that were placed on each table at an Israel-themed Friday Night Shabbat dinner…